Home Conventions Anaheim woos Comic-Con with rooms, room

Anaheim woos Comic-Con with rooms, room


While San Diego city officials have made their deep, long lasting love for the Comic-Con International known recently, Team Jacob, aka Anaheim, also has much to offer, including a big, roomy convention center and lots of places for tourists to eat food, and its bid for the Nerd Prom is getting mucho ink today

“We’re attracted to it because of its sheer magnitude,” said Charles Ahlers, president of the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau. “It’s one of those things where it’s hard to unseat an annual convention from any area, and Comic-Con has a long history in San Diego. But we think we have a lot to offer.”

Ahlers said the convention would be great for Anaheim restaurants and hotels and estimates that it could have an impact on Anaheim of $40 million to $50 million.

The Anaheim Convention Center has 815,000 square-feet of convention space, compared to about 550,000 square feet in San Diego, Ahlers said.

Anaheim has more affordable hotel rooms and more rooms within walking distance of the convention space, compared to San Diego, he added.

Currently, the biggest show at Anaheim is the music equipment show NAMM, an 85,000 strong gathering of would-be rock stars and future guitar techs. We attended this show many years in the past, but our memories of Anaheim are not as glittering as our SD memories — although it was perfectly fine.

Like most observers, The Beat thinks a move away from San Diego is unlikely but…something has to be done. In the meantime, Anaheim has a strong message for San Diego Comic-Con organizers:

  1. It’s a tough call.

    Yes, it’s less driving for some.
    For those traveling by air it’s not as close as San Diego’s airport.
    In fact, I walked from the convention to San Diego’s airport, once.

    I’ve been to the Anaheim convention center a few times (3 total). My last show there was 2005 E3 (a decent sized show, but it was *industry only* folks, no costumes). Perhaps things have changed in the last 5 years, but I recall it was quite easy to walk into the wrong part of town right outside the front door.

    Still, I’d rather keep it at San Diego — just a personal preference, no logic involved.

  2. Heidi, I’ve written about this before: moving San Diego to Anaheim would be a total disaster.

    San Diego is friendly. Anaheim, at least in the vicinity of the convention center, is a tourist trap of monstrous proportions. It’s a pit. No matter how many hotel rooms Anaheim offers, three things must be kept in mind: the Con would still be fighting for rooms with Disneyland, Disneyland will always be Anaheim’s favorite son, and the vast majority of those millions and millions of Anaheim hotel/motel rooms are disgusting roach traps.

    And as much as the Con has tried to rebrand itself for, what, fifteen years now, as Comic-Con International, to the vast majority of the world, including Hollywood, it’s SAN DIEGO. These days, if you say to virtually anyone, “I’m going to San Diego this year,” they think of the San Diego con. I’ve some small experience with the quirky vagaries of Hollywoodthink. Remember when WizardWorld Long Beach got a lot of Hollywood visitors? Flush with dreams of being San Diego II as far as Hollywood was concerned, they moved to the Los Angeles Convention Center – and Hollywood didn’t attend. Going to Long Beach or San Diego counts as a working holiday for Hollywooders, but going to the LA Convention Center is just work. I’ve a strong sense Anaheim would get a similar response. And isn’t Anaheim’s convention center considerably smaller than San Diego’s?

    But maybe that’s what they want: a nostalgic return to a much smaller, simpler comics-dominated convention. It wouldn’t be the first time part of the comics business impaled itself on nostalgia and called it a bold new move.

    – Grant

  3. And isn’t Anaheim’s convention center considerably smaller than San Diego’s?

    No, Anaheim’s CC is larger: 815,000 sq. ft., compared to 550,000 sq. ft. for the San Diego CC. Press references to the Anaheim CC having about “half a million” more sq. ft. apparently include 210,000 sq. ft. of flexible space.


  4. San Diego Convention Center is one of the best locations of any convention center in North America. The feel of the downtown, waterfront, baseball stadium, and the view is amazing. It’s pedestrian-friendly and the trolley provides an excellent source of public transportation connecting a range of hotel options.
    Anaheim? Really? Public transportation is nihl. Anaheim has no real atmosphere. Sure, there’s Disney but really, who cares?

    Anaheim has no soul.

    San Diego and Comic Con are not the same without each other.

  5. Disneyland hotel workers contacted the Comic-Con International Board to tell them about the labor dispute in Anaheim.
    You may have heard that Disneyland hotel workers have been engaged in a bitter 2-year fight against Disney over increased health insurance payments and turning some full-time jobs into part-time positions without benefits.
    There is no end in sight to this dispute. If Comic-Con chooses to move to Anaheim, it could find itself caught in the middle of a bitter labor dispute that could jeopardize its success.
    Workers have been involved in the following actions:
    *7 day and 3 day water-only hunger strikes in February 2010. Disney hotel workers camped on the sidewalks in front of the Disneyland hotels and Disney’s Burbank offices. Daily actions involved elected officials, community leaders, and musicians, including Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine.
    *Two work stoppages, in which dozens of workers walked off the job
    *Numerous picket lines and protests, happening as early as 6AM, some of which have shut down entrances to the park, closed streets, including one in which 32 people were arrested.

  6. I’d love Comic-Con to come to my hometown, but it already gets pretty crazy during the summer with all the people going to Disneyland.

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